Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

“There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother”
Proverbs 18:24

Finding a True Friend

When she met you face to face
and you smiled tenderly;
And you said, “How do you do, its so nice to see you.”
When she turned her back away. Did that smile fade away?
And the whispering began? Did you run to tell your friend?
“Guess who I saw today?
Guess what she was wearing today?
Guess who she was with today?
Guess what she looked like today?
Oh I am in so much dismay,
That she would go so much astray!”
Oh those naughty nasty words,
carried on by winds and birds,
Find their way back to the one,
Who was scourged from tongue to tongue.
And the wounds they cut so deep,
that she cannot even sleep;
She will never trust again,
Those she once thought were her friends;
For their smiles she learned were fake,
She had made a grave mistake.
But she learned through all the pain,
that a true friend would remain.
And so rare if truth be told,
they are worth their weight in gold.

Written by Elizabeth Ann Van Cleve

“We don’t lose friends, we just learn who our real ones are.”

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The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. ~Isaiah 40:6-8

Often I contemplate on how I would love to be visually beautiful. I am not certain why this intrudes my thoughts as often as it does. Maybe because I was raised by a mother who prized outward beauty and made comments about beautiful women. Maybe because I was the “ugly-duckling” out of a household of beautiful sisters.
It sits like an oxymoron with me; I know in my heart that outer beauty in and of itself has no real depth to it and often brings its own curses. But alas, its like the thought of “riches” that can leap around ones mind like a playful toy. You know money cannot buy happiness- yet at times you still think to yourself, if only I had more money.
And so it was, that the Lord knew my thoughts afar off, and being the faithful and good father that He is, he impressed this thought upon me as I read out of Isaiah 40. It was if he said to me, “My daughter, my precious child, ALL flesh- all the beauty that you see today will be gone tomorrow. The beautiful pictures of women, were but for a moment- a pose frozen in a photo, but the reality of it is long forgotten. Every one of them will have wrinkles one day and there bodies will go to the grave and decompose. But the beauty of holiness will last forever. The beauty of my spirit will never decompose. The WORD OF THE LORD will stand forever.”

And my mind went to Psalms 1- the tree,  which is unlike the beautiful stunning flower that draws attention to itself and receives much praise for its beauty; but go back in a week, and the flower is gone- all of its glory is lost in time. But the “Tree planted by the rivers of water” is different. It is rooted and grounded in the word of God, and though many will never exclaim over its beauty, yet it will abide faithful- a shelter from the scorching sun; A home for the fowls of the air. And it will bring forth fruit in its season- year after year. It will abide forever.

Dear Lord and Father in Heaven,
I do not want to be a flower of the field, here one day, and gone the next. Help me to ever be the tree planted by the rivers of water. May I ever abide in your word. For the “Word of the Lord shall stand forever.” Thank you for the beauty of holiness and for planting me by the rivers of Jesus Christ!

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I have seen a LOT of amazing and extraordinary Sand Castles and Sculptures . . .

Works of art respresenting just about anything the imagination can conjure up, or the world has ever seen . . .

But following a storm . . .

Or after the tide came in . . .

It was ALL gone! Not a trace to be seen . . .

And so it is in this life. Everything that you build here will one day be gone- all your dreams, plans, accomplishments- all you believe and don’t believe- ALL- like grains of sand will be washed away in the tides of time. The only thing that will remain, is your soul, which belongs to God;

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: Matthew 6:19-20

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 2 Peter 3:11-14

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:24-27

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This morning I went to SI and Math Lab. SI is a tutoring offered for math and then Lab is where we do work and quizzes assigned by our teacher, on the computer. We have a folder that we pick up and work out of and then return before we leave. It gets corrected by the staff and the next time you come, you are supposed to continue where you left off. You also have the option of correcting any homework the staff marked wrong.

Every time I get my folder back, I have at least three problems marked wrong that I have to go back and redo, and usually I can see what I did wrong and fix it. So it is when I get this back, or a test/ assignment from my teacher, the wrong answers have big dark lines through them. That is all you notice- the big black lines. Never mind the other 25 questions you got right, you only see what you got wrong. It can feel frustrating and discouraging. I felt like I was so careful and sure that I did them all right.

Each time I go over the material again, I slow down even more and am all the more careful with each necessary step, checking and then rechecking to make sure I don’t get it wrong again.

As you go along, your SELF-confidence continues to drop and you realize the importance of paying very careful attention to each little detail- the importance of taking the RIGHT steps all along the way. Math problems can be very long and just one tiny mistake changes the outcome- the one tiny mistake makes the difference in whether the answer turns out right or wrong. You also realize that all the math RULES, though at times cumbersome, yet they help insure success. It is all set up, so that we can thoroughly learn one level, and have a strong foundation to move up onto the next level. If that first foundation is not carefully laid, and its lessons well learned, the higher math will get harder and harder and you will have much greater difficulty being able to keep up.

AND SO IT IS IN SERVING GOD. God wants us perfected. (Revelations 3:2, James 1:4, 1Peter 5:10) He wants Christ (the perfect Lamb of God) to be formed in us. (Galatians 4:19) And so we try and try. We start out self-confidant. “Oh I get it. No problem!” We rush through, knowing we know this stuff. But then we go to the Bible, or we go to Church, and we see marks- big black marks of imperfection. Never mind anything we are doing right. All that we can see is what we are doing wrong. And so we sorrowfully go back over each step, the next time more carefully, prayerfully; checking and rechecking. We learn by practice, quizzing, testing that every word of God does count. We learn GOD-confidence instead of self-confidence. We learn that it is all for our good, though it may feel frustrating and discouraging at times. But the whole point is to make us ready for heaven- to make us a jewel- to perfect us. We are part of the Lambs wife, and she is to be without spot or blemish- perfect! (Ephesians 5:27)

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:5-13)

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My husband and I recently took a trip down to the coast. It was about a four hour drive. I sat in wonder as the closer we got to the ocean the more beautiful the countryside became. As we drove through the coastal mountain ranges I was struck by the perfectly manicured green hills with perfect little trees decorating them. You could tell that life had been good there. Plenty of sunshine, rain in it’s season. Not too harsh weather conditions.
But when we got to the ocean, a whole other picture was set before my eyes of magnificent beauty. The world opened up into eternity over the vast ocean and here the winds beat mercilessly year round. The trees here possessed a strength and beauty like none I have ever seen. You could see how the years of harsh winds had molded each into a character of their own. Each tree possessed such personality you could not help but stare in the wonder of it all. Some of them you would even think to be quite deformed, yet still so mysteriously beautiful.
God used these trees to speak to my heart. Such a profound lesson was impressed upon me that words seem inadequate to express.
There are many lives just like those little manicured trees. They have what everyone wishes for. The sun shines on them, love surrounds them. Everything seems to be in their favor. They grow into beautiful people of good morals and productive lives.
But then there are lives that are born in a place where the winds of adversity are ever present. Hardship and adverse conditions meet them everyday. Some cannot stand the hardships and never get established and die. But the ones that take a deep root and hang on, grow up strong, and yes, sometimes appear to have certain deformities because of the constant whippings and lashings of life. Yet they possess a beauty of their own that, unlike the perfectly manicured trees that all seem to look the same, these have formed a unique character and a strength that is deep and secure. Just look at these pictures of some of the coastal trees and let them teach you a lesson about life.





Oh God you are my God, and I will ever praise you!
I will seek you in the morning, and I will learn to walk in your ways,
And step by step you’ll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days.
Oh God you are my God, and I will ever praise you!

To see more pictures of our trip come visit my blog

Looking Unto Jesus

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